How far will Russia’s war madness go?

Russia has confidently become the main source of threat in all spheres of human life – be it military, economic, environmental, demographic, or ideological. Pursuing the neoimperial goals of the power elite, the aggressor state is on a spree of mass terrorist attacks, trying to destabilize the continent as much as possible, thereby inclining European leaders to satisfy their ambitions.

The hopes harborded by the civilized world for the Kremlin’s «prudence» never came true. According to experts, the explosion at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was the largest terrorist act of the 21st century.

The catastrophic consequences of the explosion at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant are already affecting more than just those living in Ukraine. The environment across the entire Black Sea region has suffered immensely — this was in fact an ecocide of an international scale. While it is deemed impossible at the moment to most fully assess the extent of damage and the detrimental impact of the man-made disaster on the ecosystem, preliminary estimates are already stunning – the disaster zone spreads across an area of ​​about 5,000 kilometers, where cities and villages have been flooded, minefields and cattle burial grounds have been eroded, oil reservoirs and chemical depots have been destroyed, and cemeteries and garbage dumps have gone under water. The spread of the epidemic, drought, and further destruction of the ecosystem are highly likely.

The humanitarian impact remains in the main focus. Nearly 880,000 found themselves without water supply, which significantly increases the epidemiological risks to their health. As of June 20, a total of 38 settlements remained flooded, with dozens of residents reported dead and hundreds missing. The Kakhovka tragedy, provoked by Russian invasion troops, caused a new wave of both internal and external migration, thus affecting the EU as well.

More accurate estimates can be released after water levels in the now-flooded areas normalize. But it is already clear that the houses fully submerged in water will remain uninhabitable for the next 2 years.

The Kakhovka HPP dam breach caused by a Russian-inflicted explosion is fraught with catastrophic consequences for the entire southern part of Ukraine, including its agricultural and industrial sectors. Enterprises located in the large industrial hub of Kryvyi Rih, which used to get its freshwater supply from the Kakhovka Reservoir, are facing production halt as they typically require massive volumes of water for daily operations. About 195,000 hectares of farmland, which was irrigated with water from the Kakhovka Reservoir, may ultimately become a desert. All these factors are harbingers of a devastating economic crisis. Also, they will further have a great impact on the food security in the most vulnerable regions since Ukraine is one of the world’s leading grain exporters.

At the same time, Russia is denying the UN humanitarian mission access to the captured areas, affected by the dam breach the most. This is despite the fact that 30% of water samples show massive pollution while stable fresh water supply to the area is yet to be set up. According to residents of the occupied bank of the Dnipro River, Russian authorities are now in a rush to conceal the scale of civilian deaths. To this end, they deployed teams to retrieve the bodies of drowned residents to dispose of them as soon as possible.

However, not only the heavy loss of life and Moscow’s ban on providing the necessary assistance to the survivors determine the scale of the catastrophe. Desalination and pollution of the Black Sea is already affecting the ecosystem. Enormous damage was done to the fish fauna — according to preliminary estimates, about 95 thousand tons of living biological resources died. This, in turn, turns the sea into another environmental disaster. The bodies of dolphins killed in Ukraine are already found on the shores of Bulgaria and Turkey. It is believed that negative consequences will manifest themselves for the next 10 years. During this period, 30% of the natural reserve fund of the Kherson region may be under the threat of extinction, this is more than 70 species of animals and 30 species of plants. Floodplain forests, swamps, meadows and steppe ecosystems may disappear forever. The national natural park in the Kherson region and the regional landscape park on the Kinburg Spit, as well as the marine area around it, due to water desalination, will be almost impossible to restore. The ongoing process of soil degradation threatens desertification of once fertile lands, which will lead to a decrease or complete cessation of farming and agriculture.

But the scale of this crime doesn’t discourage Moscow from further undermining the global security system. The Putin regime remains a threat to the stability at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been captured by Moscow since last year’s spring. This poses a major threat to Europe’s safety and security as Putin may escalate at any moment.

However, the prospect of inflicting irreparable damage to Ukraine is no obstacle to the Kremlin. There are other terrorist attacks in the works of the dictatorial regime. Ukraine’s defense intelligence recently reported that the invaders had planted mines in the Zaporizhia NPP’s cooler. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine also spoke about Russia’s plot to mine the ZNPP. “Just like with the Kakhovka dam case, they don’t care about security in Ukraine. They want the world to exert pressure on Ukraine toward ending the war on terms favorable to them,” the Ukrainian leader said. If the ZNPP is blown up, the consequences will be hundreds of times more catastrophic. A significant part of the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Dnipropetrovsk regions may become a new exclusion zone, while radioactive contamination threatens most of Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Turkey, as well as some southern parts of Russia.

Russia’s nuclear blackmail does not end with the manipulation of the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant topic. A year ago, the invasion troops destabilized the operation of the Chornobyl NPP, damaged power supply to reactors and nuclear waste storage facilities, and also threatened the world that their tanks would ultimately start firing rounds at those reactors.

At the same time, throughout the entire period of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia never ceased to actively exploit the topic of deploying nuclear weapons – not only against Ukraine, but also against its Western allies. The renewed nuclear saber-rattling, including the further development of the triad, gave reason to the Western coalition to assume that the Kremlin might actually use the most powerful capability in terms of destructive power in the event of what Russia vaguely labels as a threat to its territorial integrity. This did not go unnoticed by U.S. President Joe Biden, who warned the world that the threat of Putin launching a tactical nuke is real.

For the first time in the last 80 years, the world has again faced the threat of large-scale man-made disasters, caused by a country that revived Nazism. Stopping the aggressor in its tracks and preventing further genocide, ecocide, and some even more disastrous prospects of turning much of the Kremlin-occupied land into an uninhabitable desert requires a timely and resolute response from the international community. Concrete actions to strengthen the security in Eastern Europe should include more than just supplies of modern weapons to Ukraine. The nation’s facilitated integration into defense alliances, including NATO must also be considered. Another direction in building a system of long-term deterrence is for the leading Western powers to provide Eastern European nations with security guarantees – simply because the Kremlin’s moves have gone far beyond common sense and logic.